National Arena to become COVID-19 field hospital

National Arena to become COVID-19 field hospital

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Cabinet on Monday gave its approval for the National Arena in St Andrew to be retrofitted as a field hospital as part of the Government's COVID-19 response plan.

Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health Dunstan Bryan, making the disclosure during a meeting of the Special Select Committee of Parliament on COVID-19 this morning, said the implementation of a field hospital would serve to respond to any upsurge or surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the island.

He said the proposal for the National Arena to be outfitted as a 72-bed field hospital is based on the recommendations of a specially comprised team following a reconnaissance visit. Bryan said some design changes are being finalised for the venue. The venture is expected to cost some $182 million and will be done with the assistance of the Jamaica Defence Force.

In the meantime, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie explained that the facility would be an isolation facility.

"It would be confirmed cases and mildly symptomatic persons. We are reserving the hospitals for moderate to severely ill persons," she said.

Jamaica to date has a total 59 persons who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Alicia Dunkley-Willis

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